Tag Archives: prayer

Thoughts on Psalm 131

universe1

Psalm 131 contains just three verses but gives a good pattern for prayer.

PRAY HUMBLY.

O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes not raised too high… (v. 1a)

The Psalmist begins with the inner man. A prideful heart ruins even the most eloquent prayer and haughty eyes spoil even the most lofty supplication. This is not to say that words aren’t important, but that a humble heart matters more.

Lord, help me to pray humbly and acutely aware of what a great grace it is that you hear me. Stamp out any hint of self-exalting pride and make me like the tax collector in Luke 18: “God be merciful to me a sinner!”

I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. (v. 1b)

There is sweet freedom in trusting God for the many great perplexities of life. “God is good,” and “God is sovereign” must be enough. It is foolish to speculate about matters He intentionally shrouds in mystery and better to rest upon the revealed counsel of God. Additionally, there is wisdom in diligently serving Him wherever He has placed us doing whatever He has given us to do. There are no unimportant servants in God’s economy and neither do we serve Him in vain.

Heavenly Father, humble my arrogant heart that insists on placing myself on equal terms with You. Conform my will to Yours and let my actions be pleasing in Your sight. Let me seek what you have revealed in Scripture as valuable treasure, for knowing You only deepens my love and devotion to You. You are my Creator. It is enough that You know. It is enough that You see. It is enough that you hear. I am content; for You Yourself have said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

PRAY WITH CHILD-LIKE FAITH AND IN THE SIMPLICITY OF JOYFUL SUBMISSION.

But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. (v. 2)

A child who is weaned from her mother’s milk has ceased to depend upon it for nourishment and is content to sit quietly in her mother’s arms. We often come to God with troubled hearts, agitated and impatient, struggling to grab hold of a perceived need when what we really need first is God Himself.

O God, wean me from this world. Wean me from worldly desires, temporal pleasures, and self-seeking patterns of thought. Let me come to you as a contented child, completely trusting in Your provision and wholly resting in whatever Your will is for me. Let my heart be still and simply trust in You.

O  Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore. (v. 3)

PRAY WITH UNWAVERING HOPE.

Here the Psalmist exhorts us to fix our hope forever on God and God alone. He is a God who keeps His promises. There is no firmer foundation upon which to rest our Hope than God Himself. He is perfectly trustworthy and cannot lie. His promises are sure, His Word imperishable, and His Covenant is everlasting.

Lord, thank you that my hope in You can never be disappointed. Thank you for the extravagance of my Gospel inheritance that makes it possible to draw near to Your throne of Grace with confidence and receive unending mercy, unmerited Grace, and help for my needy soul.

(Luke 18:9-14; 1 Cor 15:58; Prov 2:1-5; Ps 139; Gen 16:13; Isa 59:1; Heb 13:5;  Ps 46:10; Num 23:19; Heb 4:16)

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

 


Some Thoughts on Prayer

Tree

Pray without ceasing.  1 Thessalonians 5:17

I’ve been thinking about this command and what it means, not only with the understanding that we are instructed to pray, but also about what it reveals about the character of God. Our Heavenly Father wants to hear from us! He stands ever at the ready to hear our prayers and answer them, always for our good and His Glory. The truth of that should shake my soul from its self-absorbed slumber and shine a light on the darkness that is prayerlessness.

I stand convicted of not praying enough.  And I don’t mean a mere checking off of prayer from my “To Do” list, but rather, my lack of an earnest outpouring of heart that flows from true humility and an understanding of who God is and what He has done for me, the sinner. Where once I was lost and hopeless, by God’s Grace upon Grace I now stand forgiven, justified, adopted and in the process of being conformed to the image of His Son.

Prayerlessness is the result of a heart not set on these glories of the Gospel! I often allow the distractions of daily life to interfere. Mere frivolities derail my prayers. The Word says, “Pray without ceasing.” Not, “Check your email without ceasing.” Not, “Worry without ceasing.” And, certainly not, “Complain without ceasing.”

The Lord invites us to approach His Throne of Grace, boldly. For those of us in Christ, the veil that blinded us to our sin and separation from God has been graciously lifted. We can see our need.  We have been given the understanding that each day requires more strength and wisdom than we can muster. In this life, we need help, forgiveness, refreshment and hope. The truth of the Gospel informs us. We do not have the option to pray, we must pray.

Lord, help me to be devoted to prayer, unwavering in my practice of prayer. Remind me to pray each time the opportunity presents itself and to be ever mindful of my dependence upon You. May the realities of Gospel truth compel me to  present myself humbly and often before Your Throne.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Prayer for My Grandson

On December 24, 2012, our daughter gave birth to a 6 pound 15 inch, healthy baby boy. She named him Kash. I am beyond thrilled to be a grandmother, or as I want to be called, “Oma.” I am awed by the love I already have for this little life. I thought  my days of loving and caring for babies were gone forever, but no, God has blessed me with another opportunity to do so. I am so looking forward to being a part of my grandson’s life as he grows. I’m so excited about teaching him about Jesus! What an amazing grace this is!

Praying Hands (Dürer)

Praying Hands (Dürer) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim Your might to another generation, Your power to all those who come.  Psalm 71:18

Heavenly Father,
You already know everything about this new baby boy who is now a part of our lives. You knew the precise moment he would make his appearance and the exact number of days he will live on this earth. His personality will not come as a surprise to you. You know what his strengths and weaknesses will be, whether he will prefer carrots or peas, Oreos or chocolate chip cookies. This precious boy has been in your mind and heart for all of eternity. You have formed him and knit him together!

If we could count your thoughts toward him, they would number more than every grain of sand on every shore and in every ocean. Every hair on his head is numbered. This little baby is fearfully and wonderfully made.

Father, my prayer above all is that Kash would come to know You at a young age. Please give  him an awareness of your amazing love that stops at nothing for us, a love vast enough to include the sacrifice of Your only Son, that whoever would call upon His name would be saved.

Lavish your grace on my grandson, Lord! Equip him to be a mighty man of faith, loving and serving You for Jesus’ sake all the days of his life. Make evident to Kash the certainty of your care for him in this very uncertain world. Lord, bless Kash with understanding and wisdom beyond his years and with an early appreciation for the truth of Scripture. Let him see beyond temporary pleasures to the everlasting treasure of an inheritance that will never fade away. Let him taste the freedom that comes through a life lived in obedience to your Word. Grant Kash the adventure of walking by faith and not by sight, trusting in Jesus for everything he needs.

Father, it is a misplaced hope that Kash will live out his days free of heartache and difficulties; we know real life is not that way. So, I place my hope for Kash squarely on you. In humble expectation, I trust that whatever trials he may face; he will never face them alone. Thank you for your promise to work all things together for good for those who love You and are called according to Your purpose.

I pray that in times of joy or times of trouble, Kash would be found grateful and trusting in his Heavenly Father who loves him more than I could ever imagine and who is able to do far more abundantly than I could even ask or think.

Thank you Father for hearing my prayer.
In Jesus Name, Amen!


Internet Mixer-October 25, 2012

The Mix is one day early this week. I will be out of town tomorrow. Here we go!

Being a Wife is All About Jesus: Good words by Jen Smidt over at The Resurgence.

National Geographic Photo Contest 2012: An amazing sampling of photographs from this year’s contest.

How Can We Pray? R.C. Sproul Jr., who lost his wife and daughter in the last year, answers this question.

Jesus Saving Me From Me:  My friend Micey is a nurse for Mercy Ships, a ministry delivering free, world-class healthcare services to the poor in developing nations. This is a link to her blog.

God bless you all!

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Aslan Is On The Move

“They say Aslan is on the move – perhaps has already landed.”
-C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Chapter 7

Aslan

Aslan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am concerned for a loved one. My heart aches for this person. My spirit grieves. Not an hour goes by that I don’t pray for this someone. This person is the first thing on my mind when I wake up in the morning. Not a night passes that I don’t I fall asleep committing this loved one to the Lord’s care.

This morning, my heart was breaking. I cried out to the Lord and begged Him to intervene. I prayed Psalm 27 for several people who are facing daunting trials, but the words came most fervently when my loved one came to mind.

After breakfast, rather than leave for my morning errands as I had planned, I decided to wait and pray a bit more, read my Bible a little longer. I implored the Lord (again!) to answer my prayers for this person. I poured out my heart, did not hold anything back. I expressed frustration and fear, dismay and disappointment. I asked Jesus to work. I asked for help.

Just as I was about to leave, my phone rang. It was a precious, longtime friend of mine. She had a bit of encouragement for me in regard to this someone. We prayed together and again entrusted the situation to the Lord’s providence and care.

When I cannot do anything, God is surely able. When my heart is in turmoil, He gives peace. When I am overwhelmed with the details, God sees and knows the scope of it all. And, this morning when I most needed it, God answered a prayer for encouragement that I did not even realize I had prayed, deep groanings that did not go unattended.

It is no coincidence that I did not leave the house as early as I had planned. It is not mere happenstance that my friend called at the very moment I needed a fellow soldier to battle with me in prayer. Praise God!

Now I know. Aslan is on the move.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Ingredients of an Epic Prayer

Sermon Notes-Pastor Milton Vincent
January 8, 2012, Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

2 Chronicles 20

We are like the people we read about in 2 Chronicles chapter 20 in that:
-They were being attacked by forces that they were no match for.
-They were in a place of powerlessness and ignorance.
-It was a hugely consequential moment.

SEVEN INGREDIENTS OF A HUGELY CONSEQUENTIAL PRAYER FOUND IN 2 CHRONICLES 20

1. Seeking God. (v.2-4)
-Seeking not just an answer from God, but God Himself.
-The people who were after Jehoshaphat and his people were a great migrating multitude. (v. 2)
-Jehoshaphat was afraid (not just mildly worried, but shattered!) and sought the Lord. (v. 3,4)
-He declares a fast so all can seek the Lord together. (v. 3)
-Nothing else is important at this point, just find God!

2. Looking at God and voicing what is seen.
-Jehoshaphat doesn’t jump directly to his request, but takes a moment to look at God. (v. 6)
-…but our eyes are on you. (v. 12)
-Behold your God, His goodness and His Grace and this will have a shaping effect on our prayers.

3. Rehearsing God’s Story and one’s place in it. (v. 7-9)
-When praying, rehearse the story of God’s gracious favor and what He has done for you.
-Prayer is a venue where we can rehearse the details of our Gospel story.
-Our request before God fits within a larger storyline-i.e. before the world began you were predestined to be saved, forgiven, a child of God and one that He died for.
-As you pray for others, rehearse their story and God’s goodness and grace in their lives before making your request.

4. Looking at circumstances through God’s eyes. (v. 10-12)
-In a sense and in part, prayer is getting into the mind of God and praying from His perspective.
-Verses 1-3 show Jehoshaphat to be shattered by fear, but in these verses he sees his circumstances through God’s eyes.

5. Confessing weakness and ignorance to God. (v.12)
-We read these amazing words from a king as he confesses in front of everyone:

“…we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

-We will probably never hear a world leader say these words publically, but God has the back of a man who is willing to confess his weakness and helplessness.
-Pray willing to admit helplessness.

6. Listening to God. (v.13-17)
-God speaks in these verses and the people listen.
-They would’ve never received this direction if they hadn’t prayed. James says you have not because you ask not.
-We are often too busy trying to do things on our own rather than listening to God.

7. Worshiping God. (v.18-23)
-The people worship God before He has actually done what He said He would do.
-They faced the opposition by worshiping God.
-They went to battle singing the song of victory.
-When they began to sing and worship, the Lord provided the victory.

The Christian’s life begins in helplessness and that is when salvation comes. It is an ongoing pattern.

Note from Terrie: It’s really worth it to go back and re-read the entire 20th chapter of 2 Chronicles. Lots to learn here and lots to trust God to teach us.


Lessons From Jesus’ Prayer Life

Sermon Notes-January 1, 2012
Pastor Carlos Cuellar
Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

FIVE LESSONS FROM JESUS’ PRAYER LIFE THAT WILL ENCOURAGE US TO DRAW NEAR TO GOD IN PRAYER

1. Jesus focused on a person not prayer.
-Communion and fellowship with God are at the heart of prayer.
-Not a dull duty. Not for our pride (looking good in front of others).
-Jesus prayed because of relationship and longing to commune with His Father.
-Before the Fall, man had intimate relationship with God. The beauty of the Gospel is that through it God brings us back into relationship.
-But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Eph 2:13

2. Jesus made time to be with God in prayer.
-The pattern of Jesus’ life was to seek out time with God. (Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16)
-Just as we are, Jesus was sometimes interrupted when He wanted to pray. (Matt 14:12-14)
-Be aggressive in carving out time to pray.
-The measure of maturity in prayer is not how long we pray, but how much we long to pray.

3. Jesus experienced the freedom of prayer by weaving it into every part of His life.
-God gives us full freedom in how and when to pray. Just pray!
-Jesus prayed in all types of circumstances, different times of day, alone and with others, spontaneous prayers and learned prayers, long prayers, short prayers, prayers for others-children, friends, enemies-prayers for himself, He prayed indoors, outdoors, even on the cross.
-Enjoy and take advantage of the freedom we have to pray.

4. Jesus found refuge in prayer at some of life’s most important moments.
-It came naturally to Jesus to pray in important or difficult circumstances.
-We see it when Jesus made important decisions. (Luke 6:12-13)
-We see it when Jesus had times of trial or temptation. (Luke 22:41-44)

5. Jesus persevered in prayer to the end.
-Because it was such a natural part of His life and woven into every area of His life.
-Our circumstances can tempt us to stop praying. Hoping in God keeps us praying. (Ps 27:13-14) 
-Jesus ends His life with a prayer. (Matt 27:46,50; Luke 23:46)

Gaze at Jesus’ life and by God’s Grace experience Jesus’ example in prayer.


%d bloggers like this: